What makes a sustainability leader? Meet social sustainability champions Honeywell Hometown Solutions
With less than a week until the 2021 Sustainability Leaders Awards, this feature series showcases the achievements of the 2020 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: the winners of the Social Sustainability & Community Development Award, Honeywell Hometown Solutions.
The Honeywell-Safe Water Network Initiative (SWN) is building 180 water stations in India to provide safe water access to more than 540,000 people. In Telangana specifically, Honeywell has already built 150 water stations across 17 districts – catering to 480,000 people.
Alongside improving access to clean, sustainably managed water, SWN is educating communities on the importance of clean water, sanitation, hygiene, creating jobs, empowering women and building visibility for India’s water crisis. The scheme aims to be the embodiment of sustainable community development and continues to provide communities with long-term benefits.
Contaminated surface water and ineffective private drinking schemes force Telangana’s residents to rely on depleted, unclean water sources, causing preventable waterborne diseases. Investing in the state and employing 1,000 local people, Honeywell aimed to implement an initiative to deliver clean water in accordance with five Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Through the initiative, it established water “iJal” stations that make groundwater potable through a
six-stage filtration process. The system minimises the use of groundwater – only 0.03% – and allows for the reuse of reject water within the Environmental Protection Act’s prescribed limits for sanitation and cattle wash. According to an impact-evaluation study conducted by Honeywell and SWN, 82% of the respondents believed the iJal stations provided them with easy access to clean, safe drinking water.
The iJal stations provide large-scale impact without long-term reliance on corporate funding, allowing for local ownership and communities to sustain their own water supply. The study also found the water stations accounted for 92% of the livelihood generated in these communities, with each one employing fourpeople. Additionally, each station is self-sufficient from the first day of operation and quickly recovers its operating costs.
Additionally, affordable access to safe drinking water has improved Telangana residents’ health by reducing instances of jaundice, typhoid, diarrhoea and fluorosis. This has led to an increase in productivity and improved finances, as people are not draining their funds treating illnesses. As per the study, 66% of the respondents reported an improvement in their quality of life, 60% stopped missing work to collect water and 73% of children stopped missing school due to waterborne diseases.
SWN champions sustainable behaviours beyond clean water access. By engaging local entrepreneurs, self-help groups, water station operators, and distributors, this initiative supports livelihoods and contributes to the local economy. It enables communities to manage their own local water source, prioritise their health without burdening themselves financially, and educates them about the importance of safe drinking water.
SWN engaged 75 Honeywell employee volunteers who visited villages serviced by the stations to educate people about the importance of safe drinking water, health and hygiene. In particular, Honeywell targeted education towards six key stakeholder groups: the village head, local social health activists, government healthcare providers, registered medical practitioners, midwifery nurses, and teachers. These stakeholders led the way in educating their community about the importance of safe drinking water.
As of February 2020, Honeywell’s investment in setting up 150 iJal stations has brought safe drinking water to 17 districts of Telangana. Additionally, this programme has employed more than 338 people to operate and maintain the water stations. This initiative has provided steady employment for 89 women and girls, elevating them to participate in their communities’ decision-making processes.
What edie’s judges said: “This entry won due to widespread, quantifiable environmental and social impacts across multiple SDGs; strong engagement across all stakeholders in the community, including empowering women through long-term employment; and a programme clearly embedded in the core corporate strategy –supported by a depth of science-based research.”
Are you our next winner?
Now entering their 14th year for 2021, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards are a unique opportunity to shout about the achievements you and your company have made during this challenging year.
Entries have now closed for the award scheme and our shortlist of finalists has been released. In a digital event on Wednesday 3 February 2021, entrants will get the chance to celebrate virtually with leaders from across the sustainability, CSR and energy space. Some exciting new categories have been added for 2021 to recognise excellence across the spectrum of sustainable business.
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